This is a fanfiction written by Kogata. The main characters are: Kogata, Yorokobi, and Shiro.
This is set shortly after Kogata and Yorokobi were born, which was sadly just before a freak snowstorm hit. Right now a white fox called Shiro (meaning "white") is guiding them through the snow, but they don't know where he's leading them. At this point, they are Goddesses, but they can't use any Godly powers except for enhanced hearing and smell, because they're too young.
Footnote: If you want to enjoy the full tension and excitement of the story, click the links I post to see the appropriate soundtrack for each scene.
"Kogata! Kogata! Shiro's gone!"
Kogata started awake. "Are you sure?"
"Yes! I checked everywhere!" Yorokobi's eyes were wide with fear. "What will we do now? Are we going to die?"
"No," Kogata reassured her. "We'll be fine. Where did you look for him?"
"Out here." Yorokobi climbed out through the half-collapsed door of their makeshift den. "I thought he went out to get a drink, like he usually does in the morning, but he was walking away from water." She indicated a set of footprints which appeared to suddenly veer off to the right. "And normally he tells us where he's going before leaving!"
Kogata bit her lip anxiously. "I hope he'll come back..."
"But we're going after him, aren't we?" Yorokobi said briskly. "We can't just wait here. He might have been trying to test us. You know, to see if we're worthy to survive or something."
Kogata nodded. "Okay then, but let's be quick. I don't want to be left behind."
She watched as Yorokobi examined the footprints. "I think he was tracking something, judging from the way he was walking. It was like he was sort of hiding and walking forward, in the way he does when he's hunting."
"I thought we agreed that we'd be quick!" Kogata said impatiently. "He's fast, you know. Especially when he's hunting."
She frowned. "Yes. Okay then. He went deeper into the forest, from the looks of things." She tapped her chin thoughtfully. "Strange. I thought we were heading the other way?"
Yorokobi waded through the thick snow, and the closer they got to the heart of the forest, the more Kogata's feeling of foreboding increased. "Yorokobi?" she asked uncertainly. "We should probably head back now. It's unlike Shiro to go this far without telling us."
"Maybe he's tracking something big. Like a deer."
(pause the music)
Then a thought struck her. "Then where's the deer?"
Yorokobi stopped dead. "What?"
"If he's gone hunting, then where's the prey?" Kogata scanned the ground. "There aren't any other tracks besides his, and no prey-scent."
"But... but..." Yorokobi frantically grasped for another conclusion. "But then what's he doing if he's not hunting?"
"You said that he was walking like he was hiding-- Oh no." Horror flooded through her as she reached the answer. "He wasn't hiding from his prey: he was hiding from something much worse-- a demon."
Yorokobi's eyes changed colour from green to a sickly yellow. "This is not good."
Something had landed in the snow directly behind her. She spun around, expecting to see a demon glaring at her with soulless red eyes, but instead she saw something much worse.
His once-beautiful fur was sticky with blood. His blue eyes were glazed over. His lips were drawn back in a snarl that they would never hear.
Kogata stared at him. It was Shiro.
He was dead.
Yorokobi sat and watched the fire. Shiro, their guardian, was dead. She couldn't believe it.
She remembered the time she had first seen him.
They had just escaped from the icy wind outside, and they were cold and all alone in the world. And right when Yorokobi was sure she was going to die, Shiro was there.
"Are you two all on your own?" he had asked.
"Yes. Please don't leave," they had pleaded. "There are bad things trying to hurt us."
"Don't you worry about them. I won't let them hurt you."
And Shiro had kept his word to the end. The demon had vanished without a trace, and so had all the others of its kind, but they would stay away for long. Once they realised that Shiro was gone, they would come back, and this time there would be no escape.
It seemed so unfair. Shiro had given his life for them, and now there was nothing they could give in return.
Yorokobi turned away from the flames and looked instead at the moon. It was unusually bright tonight. It seemed cruel for life to continue normally as though nothing had happened. Why were Kogata and Yorokobi the only ones grieving for Shiro's death? Why hadn't the stars dimmed? Why hadn't the moon darkened? Why hadn't anyone stopped to think of his sacrifice?
Yorokobi buried her face in her hands and wept. Why did life have to be so hard?
Kogata woke up and saw that the spot where Shiro had been buried was now completely covered with snow. She silently prayed that his soul would find a peaceful resting place.
With a start, she realised that she hadn't said any words for him.
Unsteadily, she rose to her feet and began to walk towards the grave, but just before she could reach it, her vision went black and she felt herself falling, falling, falling....
Kogata's eyes slowly opened. She was in complete darkness.
"Yorokobi?" she called uncertainly. No answer. "Anyone?"
She whipped around and saw a familiar white shape. "Shiro?"
Shiro looked pleased. "You recognised me, did you? Yes, it's me."
"But you're dead!"
"And I'm alive!"
"I suppose you are."
"Did I die?"
"You certainly didn't."
"What am I doing here?"
"I abandoned you halfway through your journey, and for that I'm sorry." He did look truly sorry.
"But what can we do? I wish I could bring you back..."
Shiro hesitated, and Kogata knew that something she had said struck a chord.
"What is it?"
"Nothing," he said, a little too quickly.
"Is there some way Yorokobi and I can bring you back?"
"Well...." He looked like he was about to run away until he saw the look in Kogata's eyes. "Okay, I'll tell you. But it will be dangerous."
"I don't care."
"I can tell. Anyway, how much do you know about necromancers?"
She paused to consult her internal dictionary. "Not much."
"Good. You don't want to get on the bad side of a necromancer, because they conduct death magic. It's bad stuff."
"Can they summon demons?"
"I'd say there's a very good chance of that."
"So are you saying that if we kill this necromancer then the demons would go away?"
"If you killed a necromancer, they would probably would enjoy that. Actually, I want the necromancer's help." He paused to let that sink in. "There's a certain necromancer who lives in the western part of the forest who owes me a favour. I want you to find her and ask for her to help."
"You want her to bring you back?"
"It's purely for the sake of you and your sister."
"What if she sets a demon on us?"
"She won't if I give you this." There was a flash of light, and a beatiful white bow appeared. Kogata stared.
"Wow," she breathed. "Its so beautiful."
Shiro rolled his eyes. "It's a bow."
"It's a very nice bow. Shiro, I... thankyou."
He looked mildly surprised. "I made it just then. It's horribly boring, being dead. Thought you might like it."
"How will we know where to find this necromancer?"
Shiro gave her a 'did you seriously just ask that' look. "She's a necromancer. She'll radiate death, live in a rotting cave, blow up things, have demons swarming like crazy around her, a giant purple Death Cloud above her head, smell like a corpse gone bad, and she will be the only one around within about 100 leagues. I think you'll be able to find her."
"Glad to be of service. And I think you're sister will be wanting to hear from you."
That thought struck her hard. "How can I get back?"
"You want to go back already? Oh well. Toodles!"
And before she could blink, she was lying flat on her back in the snow. "Yorokobi!" she called.
Yorokobi materialised next to her. "Where where you!" she shreiked.
"In the Land of the Dead."
"Come on. Shiro told me we have to find a necromancer and make him alive again so he can lead us the rest of the way."
"...Yeah, I know."
To be continued...